Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Borneo, Bats and Vampires

Back in April I wrote a post about an upcoming camping trip and how I really did not want to go. But you know what? I loved it. Food tastes better when you cook it on a Coleman and eat it outside. We stayed dry and cozy in our tent and slept soundly on our air mattresses and duvets. For the first time in more years than I can count, I went horseback riding with Truly. We rode out on two treks through the beautiful New Forest and I felt so brave and adventurous and filled with joy, that fresh wonder you experience when you’re young and trying something for the first time.

So I got to thinking about other adventures that I never wanted to try but, when push came to shove (sometimes literally), I tried and ended up loving. And it doesn’t have to be adventurous. It could be a new way of approaching a problem, a different genre of books, a horror film that you enjoyed even though you’ve always hated horror films. So, off the top of my head, here are a few things that I ended up enjoying despite myself:

Trekking through the Rainforest in Borneo. I planned the wedding and HRH was in charge of the honeymoon. He kept it a surprise. On our way to the airport, he spilled the beans, and it all became clear why he kept the plans under his hat. The first week was to be the adventurous portion of the holiday and we would stay in Borneo, in the Mulu National Park. The second week was the luxury part, a week in Tanjong Jara on the east coast of the Malaysian Peninsula. I thought I would try to make it through the first half and be rewarded for my pain and suffering in the second half. But you know what? I loved Borneo. We watched millions of bats come out of Deer Cave, drank Tiger beers in a little dive bar, got soaking wet in the Rainforest, and got up close and personal with the orangutans. We ate street food, fresh produce and fish stir-fried in gigantic woks, and one of the dishes included chicken feet. I even tried spelunking, climbing and clawing my way through tight crevices in a cave, and sometimes wading through chest-deep water. The whole experience was completely exhilarating. The second half of the holiday was nice too but Borneo is the part I remember most.

Tarzania. A few years ago, we took my older daughter and my niece to one of those places where you attach yourself to a harness and a zip line and swing, ape-like, from tree to tree on a thick cable. My palms were sweaty and my stomach churned as I climbed the ladder to get to the jump-off point. Those trees were tall. I tried not to look down but who has that kind of self-control. After what seemed like a short lifetime compressed in a heart-flipping few moments, I let go and slid across the cable. It was fast. My stomach jumped into my throat and I couldn’t breathe. It was amazing. I went on to do the whole circuit.

The Twilight series. I really don’t like vampires. I never got into them. For years, Truly tried to get me to read the Twilight books and I resisted. Finally, I picked one up. I couldn’t put it down. I fell in love with Edward. And the thought of becoming a vampire was almost appealing, except for the staying out of the sun bit.

Yoga. I never wanted to jump on that whole yoga craze bandwagon. It seemed boring, something more suited for a vegan or a holistic medicine man or a joss stick burning meditating type, but not for me. Not that I have anything against all that but it’s not really me. Then a friend told me she was doing Ashtanga yoga and it was amazing and a great workout. Life-changing, she may have said. She mentioned Madonna and Sting. Have you seen Sting recently? Enough said. I tried it. Loved it. Ashtanga yoga is great.

The next thing on my list to try, something that has made me balk at the prospect for years, is the summer festival. HRH has been talking up Glastonbury since the day we met. No way, I said. Not me. Well, many summers have passed and I have finally purchased tickets for a festival. We're starting out with a family festival, Camp Bestival, which I first heard about through Deer Baby. The kids are excited. HRH is excited. I am embracing my adventurous side, the part of me that would normally say no, but has detoured into yes territory. So I am excited too. In fact, I've been reading up on the festivals and there are quite a few that appeal to me (I'd love to see Vampire Weekend). We may become the Festival Family. Although, it must be said that I did say ‘no way’ when HRH said he wanted to buy a camper van. Who knows what will be next on my list? Perhaps the best is yet to come. Can anyone else think of something they thought they would hate but ended up loving?


  1. Great - you've booked. May see you there! We haven't got round to booking yet so better get moving. You'll love it. I'll be the smelly one in the tent. And Deer Cave in Borneo - sounds right up my street. I was sent a review copy of Twilight - I'm ashamed to say I skim read it to write the review (not on blog but elsewhere). May go back to it. After all, a zillion people can't be wrong.

    You've had lots of adventures. I'm now racking my brains to think of something I thought I'd hate but loved. Ice skating is about my limit. Tobaggoning. Centre Parcs?

  2. I went with my eldest son to Go Ape! recently which sounds like pretty much the same thing as Tarzania. Loved it.

    I can't think of anything I thought I'd hate and ended up loving though... nothing I'm prepared to share on-line anyway!

  3. deer baby - I'll be the other smelly one in the tent. It would be great to meet up.

    Gappy - yes, just like Go Ape! It was surprisingly fun, wasn't it?

  4. Wow you are a brave girl - I like the idea of a festival however it's going to take a while for me to get over the yurt experience ....You enjoy ! I love the spirit of your post though, I'm not quite as adventurous but that's why I signed up for life drawing - I'm still totally rubbish but at least having a go ! I'm looking forward to safaris and things when the children are a bit bigger.

    ps number one just told me it's mufti day tomorrow ! xx

  5. Belgravia wife, life drawing sounds like fun. I am completely useless at all things artistic but I have heard that it's really good for getting the right brain/left brain working together. Do you find that you're thinking more creatively in other areas as well?

    We're looking forward to a safari in our future as well.

    Good old mufti day. That can only mean one thing--another half-term!